If anorexia were a person and you asked me to tell her one thing, I would tell her thank you. I would tell her thank you for showing me how strong I can be. By doubting my capabilities of beating you, you taught me how powerful I could be, and for that I am forever grateful.
I remember the first time that a therapist told me that I had an eating disorder. I began to see a therapist to treat my depression and when she started to ask me questions about my life, she came to the conclusion that I had an eating disorder. Being at what I considered a “normal” weight, naturally, I laughed in her face. A year later, I found myself in a similar position. I found myself sitting in the eating disorder clinic across from a doctor who told me that she didn’t know how I was still alive. Despite the words that came out of her mouth, I laughed in her face. She told me that I was going to die, and whether that was in an hour, a day or a week, I didn’t care.
My anorexia never made me feel sick “enough”. I was a sixteen-year-old girl who had lost her period, her health, her hair, who had the heartbeat of a 10-year-old child but all of that was not enough. Sleeping with heart monitors, being fed by a tube, being unable to walk, being sponged bathed by a nurse, was not enough. My sickness was never enough until I became enough. When you think about anorexia you think about the downsides to the disease, but you rarely think about the positive outcomes.
When people think about my battle with anorexia, I want them to realize who this disease led me to become. From starving myself to starving my disorder, I found myself again. When I think back to the girl that was hospitalized and institutionalized, I do not see that girl as myself. A mental illness will strip you of everything that you are. You lose yourself in the disease and the hardest part is fighting your own thoughts to find yourself again. When I was sick, I was not Jordie. I became so consumed by a disease that I forgot who I was. When I began starving myself, I thought that I would just be losing weight. I did not know that I would be starving myself of my strength, my capabilities, my relationships with others, and of my entire life and existence as a 16-year-old.
I have been recovered for 4 years now, and there is not a day in my life where I experience “eating disorder thoughts” or where I think about going back to my old ways. I was the girl who thought that she would always have an eating disorder. I was the girl who was told that she would have to fight every single day, but I am also the girl who doesn’t have to fight anymore.
Thank you anorexia, for showing me how strong I am, and for allowing me to choose life. If I have learnt anything from this disease, it is that there is nothing that I cannot overcome. To anyone who is going through something similar, underestimate the power that the disease has over you, but never underestimate the power that you have over the disease.